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British diver breaks rebreather World Record for depth – to 290m

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Will Goodman

Will Goodman

On March 26th, 2014, following a year’s training in Indonesia, Will Goodman, 37, a technical diving Instructor Trainer, and Guinness World Record holder for the longest scuba dive (48 hours and 8 minutes), descended to a recorded depth of 290m using an unmodified, JJ-CCR (closed-circuit rebreather). Though all depth gauges stopped registering further, it is estimated the actual depth exceeded an astonishing 300m.

Unlike conventional scuba where compressed gas is vented with every breath, a rebreather recirculates the gas around an enclosed ‘loop’ allowing the diver to stay down longer. Fresh oxygen is added when necessary, and carbon dioxide is filtered out. ‘Standard tanks still need to be carried for emergency though,’ Will clarifies. ‘Plus, the unit is controlled electronically, so there are other considerations.’

Having lived and worked on the paradise island of Gili Trawangan for nearly ten years, Will has accumulated thousands of hours underwater, mainly in technical diving, which requires dedicated procedures and equipment. Will was described as the ‘perfect blend of London punk and dive god’ by The Lonely Planet and has always sought to be the best he can be. ‘This dive gave me a mission, a chance to train for something worthwhile. I’ve always been fascinated with depth and wanted to see for myself not only what it’s like, but to execute a technically-challenging dive.’

Will Goodman

After 9 hours and 57 minutes, the record-breaker surfaced showing no signs of decompression illness (the ‘bends’) and was in high spirits. However, a dive of this scale doesn’t come without its risks. ‘The most challenging part was the dive planning. Since there is no pre-existing information,’ Will explains, ‘there are so many options, all theoretical. Coupled with physiological and equipment limitations, it was a difficult descent with a very hard, working ascent to maintain the strict decompression schedule to avoid injury.’

Of the experience at depth, Will said, ‘It was the toughest and most challenging environment I’ve ever been in. After a 9 minute free fall in absolute darkness, all dive computers and depth gauges stuck at 290m. I hit my target depth in 10 degree water and strong current. Because of the breathing mix, I had high narcosis from the nitrogen levels and whole body tremors from the helium, made worse by the rapid descent rate (necessary to reduce decompression obligations). My hands started shaking and on ascent I wondered if I’d make it back, as I began to lose my motor function.’ However, the rigorous training schedule paid off, Will’s record attempt was a huge success. ‘I can’t thank the team enough for this amazing opportunity and all their hard work.’

Although not recognized as an official Guinness World Record, as there is no category for this event, Will has been inundated with well wishes and congratulations from professionals in the global diving community. They’ve confirmed and accepted his claim that he has smashed the previous CCR depth record of 283m, set by Krzysztof Starnawski in 2011.

The record attempt was facilitated by Blue Marlin Dive, Gili Trawangan, which provided full logistical support. In-water team members from around the world (pictured, left to right) included: Jeff Anastas, Theresia Gollner, Frank Cella, Jan Schmid, Will, Jeffrey Glenn and Simon Liddiard. Sponsors O’Three supplied exposure protection, and Liquivision provided dive computers.

Will Goodman World Record Team

Source: Official Press Release


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1 Comment

  1. He deserve to be recognized. It is sad that there is no place for him in Guinness Book of World record. Anyway, I just want to say congratulations. Keep on doing a good job!

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